Thursday, August 18, 2016

Coleman, Collis, Sand 9/17 7 pm @ Roll Up

The Switch is super happy to host three of our favorite poets with new books!

Switch No. 36: Jen Coleman, Stephen Collis and Kaia Sand

When: Saturday, September 17, 7 p.m. 

Where: Roll Up Photo Studio and Gallery, 1715 SE Spokane St. Portland

After reading her newly released book We Denizens (Furniture Press, July 2016) Poet Graham Foust dubbed Jen Coleman the "bittersweet cartoonist" of the heart. Her first book, Psalms for Dogs and Sorcerers, was selected by Dara Weir for the Bob Kaufman book award from Trembling Pillow Press in 2013. Jen is part of the Spare Room reading collective and works for Oregon Environmental Council. 

Stephen Collis’s many books of poetry include The Commons (Talon Books 2008; 2014), On the Material (Talon Books 2010—awarded the BC Book Prize for Poetry), DECOMP (with Jordan Scott—Coach House 2013), and Once in Blockadia (Talon Books 2016). He has also written two books of literary criticism, a book of essays on the Occupy Movement, and a novel. In 2014 he was sued for $5.6 million by U.S. energy giant Kinder Morgan, whose lawyers read his writing in court as “evidence.” He lives near Vancouver, on unceded Coast Salish Territory, and teaches poetry and poetics at Simon Fraser University.

Kaia Sand is the author of the newly released A Tale of Magicians Who Puffed Up Money that Lost its Puff (Tinfish Press 2016) as well as Remember to Wave (Tinfish Press 2010), and interval (Edge Books), a Small Press Traffic book of the year in 2004; and co-author with Jules Boykoff of Landscapes of Dissent: Guerrilla Poetry and Public Space (Palm Press, 2008). With Garrick Imatani, she was an artist-in-residence from 2013-2015 at the City of Portland Archives and Records Center, responding to historical surveillance files on local political activists. This past spring she exhibited Moth, Flame, Desire, at the Portland Community College Cascade Gallery, after serving in the Despina Artist Residency at Largo das Artes in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She works across genres and media, dislodging poetry from the book into more unconventional contexts; she documents work at

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Conrad, Carr, Buuck 6/19 @ Ford Food and Drink

Switch No. 35: CAConrad, Emily Carr and David Buuck

When: Sunday, June 19 at 6:30 p.m.

Where: Ford Food and Drink, SE 11th Ave. and Division, Portland, OR

CAConrad’s childhood included selling cut flowers along the highway for his mother and helping her shoplift.  He is the author of eight books of poetry and essays, the latest ECODEVIANCE: (Soma)tics for the Future Wilderness (Wave Books) is the winner of the 2015 Believer Magazine Book Award.  He is a Pew Fellow and has also received fellowships from Lannan Foundation, MacDowell Colony, Headlands Center for the Arts, Banff, and Ucross.  For his books and details on the documentary The Book of Conrad (Delinquent Films, 2016), please visit

Emily Carr says she “writes murder mysteries that turn into love poems that are sometimes (by her McSweeney’s editors, for example) called divorce poems.” She has lived all over the world and is the author of several collections and chapbooks of poems. After she got an MFA in poetry from the University of North Carolina-Wilmington, she took a doctorate in ecopoetics at the University of Calgary. These days, she’s the program director of the low-residency MFA in creative writing at Oregon State University-Cascades. Her newest book, Whosoever Has Let a Minotaur Enter Them, Or a Sonnet—, is available from McSweeney's. It inspired a beer of the same name, now available at the Ale Apothecary.

David Buuck is a writer and performer who lives in Oakland, CA. He is the founder of BARGE, the Bay Area Research Group in Enviro-aesthetics, and co-founder and editor of Tripwire, a journal of poetics. Recent publications include SITE CITE CITY (Futurepoem, 2015) and An Army of Lovers, co-written with Juliana Spahr (City Lights, 2013). A Swarming, A Wolfing is forthcoming from Roof Books in 2016. He teaches composition at Mills College and is an organizer for the Adjuncts Union, SEIU local 1021.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Halpern, Haynes, Jensen 5/7 @ IPRC

Switch No. 34: Rob Halpern of Ypsilanti, MI, and Portland's own Lamarra Haynes and Rachael Jensen.

When: Saturday, May 7, doors 7 pm, event at 7:30 sharp$5 

Where: IPRC, 1001 SE Division St, Portland, Or

Common Place (Ugly Duckling Presse 2015) is Rob Halpern's most recent book of poetry. Other titles include Music for Porn (Nightboat 2013), Disaster Suites (Palm Press 2009), and Rumored Place (Krupskaya 2006). Together with Taylor Brady, he also co-authored the book-length poem Snow Sensitive Skin, which has been reissued by Displaced Press. Recent essays and translations appear in Chicago Review, Journal of Narrative Theory, and The Claudius App. Rob currently splits his time between San Francisco and Ypsilanti, Michigan, where he teaches at Eastern Michigan University and Women's Huron Valley Prison.

Lamarra Haynes began developing her poetic voice last year when her professor, Kaia Sand, gave her the space to express her coursework through a poetic lens. Lamarra’s poems generally emerge from political analysis and then she attempts to make the political personal; she attempts to understand how big lofty political decisions have affected her own life. Her poem “#FreddieGray” is published in the academic journal Capitalism Nature Socialism.

Rachael Jensen is a writer living in Portland Oregon. She has been a contributor to Publication Studio, Poor Claudia, & SNOOT Books.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Landers, Sand and Masigat 3/26 @ Roll Up Photo Studio + Gallery

The Switch is proud to host a reading by Susan Landers of Brooklyn, who has a new book just out from Roof, along with our own Kaia Sand, and music from Portland's Kelly Anne Masigat!

When: Saturday, March 26, doors 7 pm, event at 7:30 sharp. $5 

Where: Roll-Up Photo Studio + Gallery, 1715 SE Spokane St., Portland

Susan Landers' latest book, FRANKLINSTEIN, tells the story of one Philadelphia neighborhood wrestling with the legacies of colonialism, racism, and capitalism. She is also the author of 248 MGS., A PANIC PICNIC and COVERS. Her chapbooks include 15: A Poetic Engagement with the Chicago Manual of Style and What I Was Tweeting While You Were On Facebook. She was the founding editor of the journal Pom2 and has an MFA from George Mason University. She lives in Brooklyn. You can follow her on Twitter @suelanders. 

Kaia Sand writes investigative poetry that is often experiential and material. She is the author of three poetry collections—Interval (Edge Books), Remember to Wave (Tinfish Press), and A Tale of Magicians Who Puffed Money that Lost Its Puff  (forthcomingTinfish Press), which includes a magic show she created about the global financial crisis. Sand co-authored Landsapes of Dissent: Guerrilla Poetry and Public Space; and created poetry sign projects as well as a series of poetry walks.  She served in a residency with artist Garrick Imatani at the City of Portland Archives and Records Center, commissioned by the Regional Arts & Culture Council, where they explored surveillance police filed on political activists. Sand built a poetic series, “She Had Her Own Reason for Participating,” sledgehammering copper cards. This past autumn, she served in a Despina Artist residency at Largo das Artes, Rio de Janeiro. This winter, she had a solo exhibition at the Cascade Gallery, Portland Community College. More info:

Kelly Anne Masigat's music is country-tinged, coal fired, quiet and intense. A multi-instrumentalist, with roots all along the West Coast, Kelly writes songs that are meditative, elegant and often romantic. Her first full length record will be released this year.
Photo by Elisabeth Wilson.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Simon, Ruoff, & Jet Black Pearl: 2/21 @ IPRC

San Francisco poet Aaron Simon comes to read for the Switch alongside local poet Lindsay Ruoff, with a very special musical performance by Jet Black Pearl. . .

When: Sunday, February 21, doors 7 pm, reading at 7:30 sharp. FREE  

Where: IPRC, 1001, SE Division, PDX

Aaron Simon is the author of Carrier (Insurance Editions, 2006), Periodical Days (Green Zone Editions, 2007), Senses Himself (Green Zone Editions, 2014), and Rain Check Poems (BlazeVOX [books], 2015). His poems have appeared in several publications, including Like Musical Instruments: 83 Contemporary American Poets (Broadstone Books, 2014), Shiny, Exquisite Corpse, Sal Mimeo, Across the Margin, Nowhere, and Harriet the Blog. He studied poetry and philosophy at The New School in NYC, and has lived between San Francisco and Brooklyn since 1999.

Lindsay Allison Ruoff lives in Portland, OR where she works at an elementary school. She is the author and creator of the ebook MOOD RING and the very small chapbook MIRACLE ROMANCE. You can see more of what she's made at:

Jet Black Pearl - This world wild accordion diva from the port of Amsterdam started as a graphic designer and street musician in New York before she moved to France, from where she performed on more than a thousand stages all over Europe. She recently moved to Portland, ready to experience new adventures with (or without) her accordion.

"The most eccentric and equally the most talented woman you will see in Edinburgh this month." 
- Broadway Baby, Edinburgh Fringe Festival


A traffic camera flashed
between Dallas-Forth Worth
and the dead moon in a jar            
with the perils of youth

Motion itself
a kind of due process
as the feeling of flight risk
conspires with air

Night falls hard on the plains
erasing the lakes
where the new summer opens
its synoptical lens
by Aaron Simon


I wanted to intensify my ability
to totally inhabit the body
to do it to death
I wanted to be or do
at least one thing forever
but I’ve misplaced my credentials
when we move to enunciate violence
only the curvatures of error are visible
embarrassingly autocorrects everything into

by Lindsay Ruoff


 Jet Black Pearl live in La Vista Theater 
in Montpellier, with Mic Lee (beat box) 
& Laurent Monju (sousaphone), 2014.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Zurawski & Tran 10/23 7pm IPRC

Magdalena Zurawski & Stacey Tran

The Switch is happy to co-host a reading with Spare Room featuring Magdalena Zurawski and Stacey Tran

Friday, October 23
IPRC 1001 SE Division
Portland, OR
7:00 PM

Magdalena Zurawski's poetry collection Companion Animal was published in 2015 by Litmus Press. Her novel, The Bruise (FC2 2008), won both the Ronald Sukenick Prize for innovative fiction and the LAMBDA Award for Lesbian Debut Fiction. Her online column on teaching aesthetics after Ferguson can be viewed at Jacket2. Zurawski teaches in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Georgia.

Stacey Tran is a curator of Pure Surface and an editor at Poor Claudia.


After everyone stops
smoking the Ovid
it gets ugly to be alive.

The dead refuse us
and instead someone I know turns over
a police car and nothing

happens anymore not even
my face so empty and
too full of other people's


I was bored and you
were bored, remember?

We dreamed of
leaving our heads
without a single
noun in them.

Magdalena Zurawski


I'm in no danger

flowers resemble
years of wandering
aiming elsewhere

a puzzle of a map

try to help

scatter laughter

pick out paint

exaggerated care

a nest
an open wound

Stacey Tran

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Berkowitz & Toliver Oct. 9, 7 p.m. IPRC

The Switch is happy to host Amy Berkowitz from San Francisco and Portland's own Ashley Toliver.

When: Friday, October 9, doors at 7 pm, reading at 7:30 sharp. FREE 

Where: IPRC, 1001, SE Division, PDX

Amy Berkowitz is the author of Tender Points (Timeless, Infinite Light, 2015). Her writing has appeared in publications including Dusie, Textsound, and Where Eagles Dare, and on the VIDA blog. In 2014, she was a Writer in Residence at Alley Cat Bookstore & Gallery. She lives in a rent-controlled apartment in San Francisco, where she is the founding editor of Mondo Bummer Books and the host of the Amy's Kitchen Organics reading series.

Ashley Toliver is the author of IDEAL MACHINE (Poor Claudia, 2014). Her poems have appeared in Caketrain, Front Porch, PEN America and Third Coast, among others. A Cave Canem graduate fellow, she currently lives in Portland, Ore.

by Amy Berkowitz

from Tender Points

One of the most persistent lies is that boys are angry. 

And the shadow lie: that girls aren’t angry. 

But even though we aren’t formally trained to hate like boys are, every girl is a natural expert: 

We have so much to hate. 

A growl that tastes like blood 

Black reservoir 
Of anger splashing 
Closer than you think 
Beneath the slimy dock of everything I say 
In my person voice 
Nice woman voice 

To google yellow wallpaper and find

Yellow wallpaper 

I mean like swatches of it

by Ashley Toliver

Dear night possessor: your funeral barge rocked tight in the fisting water makes small winter 

melodies. The light ends a pattern we learned to stupefy by motion or admitting away. A 

statutory list puts the blame on the hour. You move as I move, whistling measures in salt 

grass, patient and guarded processions. At night, the line is a current to wade through: older 

names sifting past the flotsam, the water rising up to here.